Eastwood breaks silence: Obama a 'hoax' on American people
September 7th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
11 years ago

Eastwood breaks silence: Obama a 'hoax' on American people

(CNN) – In his first public statements since his rambling, improvised remarks at last week's Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood told a California newspaper that Mitt Romney's campaign wasn't able to approve his speech, since he wasn't sure what he was going to say until he walked out on stage.

"They vet most of the people, but I told them, 'You can't do that with me, because I don't know what I'm going to say,'" Eastwood told the Carmel Pine Cone. Eastwood served as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea in the 1980s.

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Eastwood said ahead of his speech, the only guidance he could offer Romney's campaign was "to reassure them that everything I would say would be nice about Mitt Romney."

During Eastwood's remarks, delivered directly ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio's introduction of Romney on the final night of the GOP convention, the legendary actor and director addressed an empty chair that he said represented President Barack Obama.

At times, Eastwood sent the crowd into laughing fits when he pretended Obama was offering colorful objections.

"What do you want me to tell Romney?" Eastwood asked the empty chair. "I can't tell him to do that to himself ... you're getting as bad as Biden ... of course we all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party. Kind of a grin with a body behind it ..."

In the interview published online Friday, Eastwood said the chair was a last-minute decision made backstage.

"There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down," Eastwood said, according to the newspaper. "When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I'll just put the stool out there and I'll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn't keep all of the promises he made to everybody."

The intention of his speech, Eastwood said, was threefold.

"That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who's not doing a good job," he told the Carmel Pine Cone.

"President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," Eastwood continued. "Romney and Ryan would do a much better job running the country, and that's what everybody needs to know. I may have irritated a lot of the lefties, but I was aiming for people in the middle."

"But I didn't make up my mind exactly what I was going to say until I said it," he said.

That much seemed clear during his remarks, which were not delivered using a teleprompter and at times seemed to ramble in multiple directions.

Reaction to Eastwood's remarks was mixed but discussion of #eastwooding immediately went viral on the internet. While many observers said he overshadowed Romney's acceptance speech later than event, Romney's campaign said his remarks were "a break from all the political speeches."

"Judging an American icon like Clint Eastwood through a typical political lens doesn't work," a Romney campaign aide said shortly after the speech.

Eastwood himself gave a similar assessment in the interview.

"They've got this crazy actor who's 82 years old up there in a suit," he said. "I was a mayor, and they're probably thinking I know how to give a speech, but even when I was mayor I never gave speeches. I gave talks."

"It was supposed to be a contrast with all the scripted speeches, because I'm Joe Citizen," Eastwood added. "I'm a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there."

CNN's Jim Acosta, Halimah Abdullah and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

soundoff (777 Responses)
  1. russ

    this was all about promoting his new movie. I'll bet he talks to an empty chair in it. If this is not the case, then I'm sorry to say it looks like Clint, with all his blessings, ha really turned bitter at this point in his life. Thanks for reminding me that its the characters you portayed that I admired, not the actor who portrayed them.

    September 7, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    oKAY - I'll try to copy someone else again .......

    Romney/Ryan – new movie about 2016 - 'A FISTFUL OF VOUCHERS'.

    September 7, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Cam Spurgeon

    I am a middle roader who has always loved an Eastwood movie and that won't stop but I sure have lost any personal respect for a an old fool who doesn't know when to shut up. The morning Joe show said they had received info that he consumed a half bottle of whiskey before he went up there still holdin on to it.. Sad to see him acting the idiot role. I will watch his movies but with a tinge of sadness.

    September 7, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. M

    The whole Bush Administration was a hoax on America and Romney will be part two.

    September 7, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. kirby

    The only hoax on the American people is R/R Mr. Eastwood. You're a great actor and producer, but stay out of this arena and enjoy your later years.

    September 7, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Laverne

    Not sure why Clint Eastwood is embarassing himself like this. It is more sad than funny or disappointing.

    September 7, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |

    One question, Clint ... was the commercial you made about the American Car companies coming back just a lie? Or do you appreciate that Obama didn't let them go bankrupt - like Romney would prefer?

    September 7, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. the Situation


    Clint was cool and fun to have. It was a welcome change. The people who didn't like it are more moved by their emotional reactions to his slamming Obama. If this weren't so political, it would have just been a funny, improvised skit. But the sensitive Obama defenders can't see straight when their man gets criticized.

    September 7, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |

    Yeah, just like you Repubrats used to cry out being Un-American when you spoke out about a b/s Commander & Chief in Dubya.

    Ask the Dixie Chicks how their careers were railroad by all you sensitive Neocons when talking about Bush. By 2008, everyone everyone except you fools and Faux News woke up and saw what it is and was.

    September 7, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. lawrence

    Clint was the average man speaking his mind and adding alittle humor. I heard his points loud and clear. What we have here is liberals and socialist irked by his fame and that he said something against the almighty obama and becuase clint is 82yrs old they are trying to sarah palin him but Clint stands on his ground. Maybe CLint is right about OBama ?

    September 7, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Redmon

    Any word of displeasure with the ONE is met by liberals as an assualt on their altar. Quite telling.

    September 7, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. JeanneLH

    President Obama ended up looking cool and dignified in his tweet. Clint looked like Ratso...

    September 7, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. james Faulconer

    Someone actually said on here that the GOP got Clint because 'they are running out of celebrities to agree with them'. That someone believes that celebrity endorsements of world leaders are important, let alone noteworthy, is terribly sad.

    September 7, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Jules

    Clarke – you said don't blame the GOP because they didn't vet him (Eastwood)? That is exactly why you vet someone. The GOP couldn't handle a convention and they can't handle the country.

    September 7, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Jules

    Vetting is the responsiblity of Romney's staff.

    September 7, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Tom from Canonsburg

    Sorry Clint, but your an actor just like Reagan. I knew not to believe him, I had a little morte hope for you. You just can't see the forest for the money.

    September 7, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. W.G.

    Eastwood´s lates movie shows him giving a woman a chance . But I guess not in reality !!

    September 7, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. duane

    Clint was correct on all accounts...Obama is an empty suit who has done nothing (even when he had a super majority for two full years). Never takes any reasonability for the economy and is a pres that has driven us further apart. We need Romney and Ryan in to get us some jobs…..

    September 7, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. wowahh22

    He looks like my 86 yr old grandmother who has battled alzheimers for the last decade. His acting was one dimensional, as a movie maker great, but he looks like an old misplaced fool doing what he did.

    September 7, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. ImIrish

    Bear79 – the top 2% (does not include me, by the way) pay 70% of the taxes – so what do you think is fair – 95%?!

    September 7, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. John in Brooklyn

    It's so desperately sad that the man was so horrible at the Republican convention that he now has to make a public statement to fix it. I would expect much better – not from a novice politician – but from a so-called esteemed actor and director.

    September 7, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. DaveC

    I prefer the line from Eva Longoria's speech where she stated that the Eva that flipped burgers at Wendy's needed a tax cut, not the Eva on the movie lot. And she said that while not talking to a chair representing Mitt Romney.

    You saw the difference between the Democratic party and the Republican party in just the celebrity guests. The Democratic guests were young and fired up and full of conviction. The Republican guests were just old and tired and repeating the same old republican lines.

    September 7, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. Will Power

    Clint, thank you for clearing up my decision who to vote for. I wish I never saw your one man show, it was emabrrassing to say the least. What were you thinking??

    September 7, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Pander Bear

    He's managed to sink both his career and Romney's campaign at the same time.

    September 7, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. James PDX

    I don't care what my fellow liberals say, I still like Clint. I think he's wrong that Romney will make a better president, but I think he's right that, like all of his predecessors, Obama made a lot of promises that he didn't/couldn't keep. Neither party can be construed as the good guys; just the lesser of evil guys. But Clint still makes good movies and does a pretty darn good job acting in them, too.

    September 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Susie Smith

    I've always admired Clint Eastwood as an actor and director. However, regardless of which side of the isle he was on or addressing in his imaginary "guest"..he was disrespectful....it wasn't funny..and had no point. If you can't add something intelligent...best to close your mouth and open your ears.

    September 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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